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Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board to meet with mayor, police chief

Members of the Atlanta LGBT Advisory Board will sit down next week with the mayor and police chief to discuss their dissatisfaction with the punishments handed down to officers involved in the controversial Atlanta Eagle raid.

Mayor Kasim Reed will meet with board members on Tuesday, July 26, and Chief George Turner will meet with the board on Friday, July 29. The meetings were requested after the LGBT Advisory Board held a town hall forum on July 13; they are intended to find ways to continue “in our work to strengthen the relationship between the LGBT community and the APD,” according to letters from the board to the mayor and police chief.

The board also plans to hold another community forum with Reed and Turner in attendance to discuss the 2009 raid on the Midtown gay bar and the ongoing fallout that includes six officers being fired recently for lying about what happened during the raid.

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Police LGBT advisory board: Atlanta mayor, police chief need to fire more officers in Eagle raid

Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board

Frustration and anger with the mayor and police chief were expressed by several citizens at the Atlanta Police LGBT advisory group's community meeting on Wednesday as they discussed the 2009 Atlanta Eagle raid and the seemingly unending fallout from it.

About 30 people, including several police officers and representatives of Mayor Kasim Reed's staff, attended the meeting held at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown. No formal action was taken by the police LGBT advisory board other than to state they are requesting separate meetings with Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner, to be held within the next two weeks.

The citizen board also plans to send a letter to each seeking answers to questions including why more officers were not fired after scathing investigations showed officers did not follow procedures when they raided the gay bar on Sept. 10, 2009.

All the people — citizens and LGBT advisory group members — who spoke at the community meeting expressed dismay that the city has taken nearly two years to take any action against the officers who lied, destroyed evidence, and violated the civil rights of the roughly 62 patrons in the bar the night it was raided.

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Atlanta police slammed in Eagle raid investigations

Attorney for Atlanta Eagle Dan Grossman

The Atlanta Eagle was packed July 2, a far cry from nights following the Atlanta Police Department raid on the gay bar nearly two years ago.

Moving from the dance floor to the back deck for a breath of fresh air took about 20 minutes of snaking between burly men wearing leather or various uniforms who were in town for the popular Atlanta Bear Fest over the holiday weekend.

Downstairs at Rawhide Leather, Du-Wayne Ray, store manager, stood behind the register as customers perused leather vests, harnesses, Eagle t-shirts and adult items.

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DOJ: Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

In a federal court brief filed July 1, the Department of Justice cited the Atlanta Police Department’s raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, as evidence of ongoing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Department of Justice filed the brief in the legal case involving federal employee Karen Golinski. The brief argues that the federal court should not dismiss her claim that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Golinski is suing the government for equal access to health benefits for her wife.

The brief, filed on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management and other defendants in the case, begins by saying “Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. Section 7 (‘DOMA’), unconstitutionally discriminates.”

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Major in botched Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid announces retirement

Former Maj. Debra WilliamsDebra Williams, who was demoted from major to lieutenant on the Atlanta Police Department in the wake of last week's devastating investigations into the department's raid on the Atlanta Eagle, is retiring from the force.

Williams, who served 27 years on the force, announced her intentions to retire on Wednesday, July 6, APD spokesperson Carlos Campos confirmed to the GA Voice Thursday. The retirement went into effect Wednesday.

Williams was demoted from major after it was determined in the independent Greenberg Traurig investigation of the raid on the Eagle, a gay Midtown bar, that she was ineffective as supervisor of the raid. The APD's internal affairs unit also found Williams' supervision inadequate.

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Queer Justice League petitions Atlanta mayor over Eagle officers

Queer Justice LeagueAction-oriented LGBT advocacy group Queer Justice League posted a petition on Change.org today, calling for the City of Atlanta, and Mayor Kasim Reed in particular, to take bold measures against the Atlanta Police officers who broke the law and did not follow procedure during the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle.

The QJL is petitioning the mayor to fire all 25 officers involved in the raid who were found to have violated procedure during the raid, as well as charge officers for various crimes committed during and after the raid. You can read all about it here.

A copy of the petition is below:

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Dept. of Justice cites Atlanta Eagle raid as example of anti-gay police harassment

In a federal court brief filed July 1, the Department of Justice cited the Atlanta Police Department's raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, as evidence of ongoing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Department of Justice filed the brief in the ongoing legal case involving federal employee Karen Golinski. The brief argues that the federal court should not dismiss her claim that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Golinski is suing the government for equal access to health benefits for her wife in a legal battle that has spanned some two years.

The brief, filed on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management and other defendants in the case, begins by saying "Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. Section 7 ('DOMA'), unconstitutionally discriminates."

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the DOJ would no longer defend DOMA in court over the constitutionality of Section 3 in several cases challenging the law.

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Religion blog: Did you see the elephant in the room during the raid on the Eagle?

There is an old story that has been around for a long time and told with many variations to the moral of the story and so today this story sums up the raid on the gay Midtown bar the Atlanta Eagle, the Atlanta Police Department and some of our brothers and sisters in our community.

One day three blind men encountered an elephant.

Upon touching the elephant's tail, the first blind man exclaimed, "I declare, an elephant is exactly like a rope."

The second blind man, bumping into the elephant’s side, said, "No sir, you are wrong. An elephant is exactly like a wall."

Then the third, having grasped the elephant's trunk, declared, "You are both mistaken. The elephant is exactly like a snake!"